Finally, the recent series of lese majeste cases has riveted the curiosity of the international community on why such an open and friendly society with a revered king would get sucked into endless lawsuits and bad press over this sensitive issue.
The first two issues have been handled with adroitness and alacrity despite all the negative coverage weighed on Abhisit and the government. After spending eight years as the opposition, the Democrat-led government has yet to learn how to respond to local and foreign media reports and criticism with better information and data.
The public seems to know the behaviour of local security and immigration authorities well. After all, Thailand has been dealing with the influx of refugees and economic migrants for the past three decades.
Equally important is Abhisit's own belief system. He embraces universal values and norms in respect to human rights and morality.
His interviews and statements manifest his personal conviction for fair play and respect for human rights. Human rights, he has emphasised, is the country's biggest asset. There is nothing to fear.
At issue here is how he can translate his ethics into good practice at the local level when it comes to hotly contested issues like the rule of law in the South or the Rohingya illegal economic migration.
Abhisit has learned quickly that good intentions alone are not enought to turn bad treatment around. He needs to act boldly in directing all authorities, especially the Internal Security Command, which deals with all matters related to national security, to act appropriately. He has reiterated that he cannot tolerate any culture of impunity under his leadership.
Abhisit must learn from the previous government. Under the Surayuth government (2006-07), Thailand ratified the UN Convention against Torture. At that time, hopes were high that the southern situation would calm down and the cases of torture as well as human rights violations would diminish. The opposite was true. For instance, Imam Yapa Kosing's death under custody last March has continued to haunt current Army chief General Anupong Paochinda and the Abhisit government, teaching them that national policies and actions on the ground must be congruent.
The Army chief reiterated last year that those responsible for the imam's death would be punished - the sooner the better. Recently, the government also ordered a reinvestigation into five other controversial murder and missing cases including the disappearance of Somchai Neelaphaichit, who was kidnapped and presumably killed by police in March 2003. Results would be known soon.
Once the plight of the Rohingyas hit the headlines, Abhisit could have been more prudent and sceptical instead of relying on the views of Thai security and immigration officials. Domestically, any delay in investigating and taking action on human rights issues, which often pitches the government against the Army, would only amplify the notion that the Abhisit government dares not question the latter's behaviour or rationale.
Last week, the prime minister admitted that some of the Rohingyas were pushed out to sea but denied that they suffered any inhumane treatment. Abhisit and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya did the right thing by engaging the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and concerned countries such as Burma, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Indonesia right at the beginning. Thailand expects to raise the Rohinya issue during the Asean Summit at the end of this month.
Now that criticism of Thailand has subsided somewhat, more inquiries and efforts are focused on the root cause and doable solutions.
Finally, the lese majeste cases have continued to nip away at the Abhisit government's image of openness and atmosphere of liberty. Foreign media and columnists have had a field day writing about the law as an onslaught on freedom of expression.
Worse still has been the predisposition of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and other online monitoring agencies to shut down thousands of websites perceived as anti-monarchy. Several thousands more are expected to face the same fate. Such knee-jerk reactions would further tighten online censorship and embed a culture of fear among cyber users.
In the past six decades, this issue has never been so hyped up and over politicised as has been the case in the past three years.
Blame should be laid squarely on all authorities and key players concerned for their myopic views in interpreting the law in a narrow sense. Abhisit's position is that the law should be liberally interpreted.
Despite some hiccups on the home front, Abhisit has scored high marks representing Thailand overseas especially at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos and the roadshow in Japan.
Thailand's credibility and profile will be highlighted further in the next several weeks. Apart from hosting the Asean Summit in Hua Hin, the prime minister will visit Britain (twice in mid-March and early April), Indonesia and China. These encounters with world leaders should help alleviate the economic crisis the country is now facing.